NHL Fans: Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

Don't go away mad, just go away

You’re an NHL fan. You spend your hard-earned money every year going to games. You buy merchandise. You subscribe to Centre Ice. You’ve been through one, maybe two lockouts, and even a strike if you’re really old. And now they’re threatening to make you go through yet another lockout.

This makes you mad.

So mad, in fact, that you’re willing to take action and show the world just how angry you are. And maybe, just maybe, your action combined with the actions of thousands of other outraged fans might even have an impact and a lockout will be avoided or at least shortened.

Well, you have every right to be outraged. But make no mistake, the angrier you get and the more you show it, the more you ensure the lockout goes on.

Think about it. Putting effort, energy and passion into showing your displeasure and trying to avoid a lockout just shows how passionate about NHL hockey you are. And if you’re passionate enough to take time out of your day to go and protest at the NHL offices or boycott NHL-related businesses, you’re sure as heck passionate enough to come back to the rink no matter how long the lockout lasts:

Take our money, please

And this is exactly what the owners are counting on. From their perspective, the NHL really does have the "world’s greatest fans:"

In the lockout-shortened season of 1994-95, each game averaged 50 more people in attendance compared with the previous season. The results were more impressive for the 2005-06 season, the first full year of hockey under the expiring CBA. The NHL reported a 2.4% increase in attendance over the 2003-04 season, and in the process, the league averaged a record 16,955 fans per contest. For the next three years, the NHL continued breaking its regular season attendance records.

Let that digest that for a second.

Need a Tums yet? You will.

A couple of weeks ago, @draglikepull put together a nice little summary estimating team-by-team ticket revenues, which added up to $1.2 billion. So if this lockout is anything like the last one, you the NHL fans, will flood back to the tune of about $30 million in additional ticket revenue. (Note: This is for illustrative purposes only. Past performance is not an indication of future results.)

So what’s an NHL fan to do when throwing a tantrum is actually counter-productive? Hopefully if you’ve read this far down, you’ll know the answer is not: "spend countless hours putting together a video with really nice production values based on the Howard Beale rant from the movie Network in the hopes of getting fans to unite to stop the lockout." I mean, nice sentiment, but shame about the facts:

Nice sentiment, shame about the facts

No, as Motley Crüe put it, "Don’t go away mad. Just go away." The owners are not going to be at all concerned about what you the fan thinks about the NHL as long as you’re still thinking about the NHL:

Apathy rules

So if you want to make a difference, go away. And I don’t mean go watch other forms of hockey like Juniors, the AHL or the NCAA. That’s like going on methadone. The owners know that once you get a sniff of the good stuff, you’ll be back mainlining it like, well, Motley Crüe in their heyday.

For real impact, go away to one of the other major league sports. Drive up the attendance of your local NFL, MLB and, god forbid, NBA team. Buy their merchandise. Subscribe to their cable, pay-per-view and online access packages. This you can do loudly.

Because, ultimately, the most likely way to end this lockout is to appeal to the owner’s greed:

The end of the NHL lockout

* You may wonder what this has to do with the NHL lockout ending, but rumour has it that Gary Bettman negotiated the rights to hold the Winter Classic in Hell should it ever freeze over. All it cost him was getting booed at every public appearance he ever makes. Small price to pay, in the overall scheme of things and just one more example of his shrewdness as a negotiator.

  • MC Hockey

    The last lockout benefited the Oilers by way of the salary cap (granted Katz has changed this need). It also hurt the Coyotes by way of the mandated minimum. Maybe this lockout will finally wash away the dregs of the league. How will LA fans respond to this? Just won the cup, huge popularity momentum, and a star studded team. Now the owners can’t even raise the banner on opening night. Florida fans are probably excited about the prospect of Luongo returning – may never happen if a lockout occurs. Columbus? Needed to get the young guns on the ice to generate any interest. Not gonna happen.

    My point is Canadian franchises are ‘bit’ players in the negotiations and the overall impact of the lockout. We are on the sidelines. Just sit back and watch the show below the border. That is where the fun will be.

  • MC Hockey

    Going out of business signs are commonplace and a way to drum up business . It is a business practice for some and they habitually do it almost very year . The bottom line obviously must be good for some . The hurt comes when fans continue their hockey by media and refuse to pay the exhorbitant fees for seasons tickets . Thus many only go to the odd games in years to follow , while still getting their fill of hockey by T.V. , etc in the comfort of home and/or friends . Their cost savings also allow them to turn savings into other entertainment venues ,investments , holidays, etc.. Far easier to leave a boring game from comfort of own home than at the Arena .

    It’s the comfort of watching from home and friends that still feeds the addiction as well as soothing it . Without media , hockey fanaticism would falter greatly as well as several spinoff industry and jobs dependent on a vibrant NHL .

  • MC Hockey

    This is a serious post. I have a great song (changes words of popular tune from 3 years ago) made up about the lockout focussed on the owners greed and Gary Bettman’s unreasonability. Anyone have a guitar and can film a little video to post on YouTube? Seriously…let me know! My twitter handle is Real_MC_Hockey

  • MC Hockey

    While hooking me up with your guitarist friend or self (see post 41), consider this: During the last lockout, TV poker (Texas Hold ‘Em) went from nothing to a huge thing on The Score, TSN, Sportsnet so what will happen this winter if both sides dig in? Will semi-pro lacrosse, PBA bowling, or senior ladies ringette catch your fancy?

  • justDOit

    I wonder what the new NHL will look like after a settlement is reached if long term taken ? End the impasse before a new WHL (World Hockey League )develops to fill the void and marketplace ? I doubt fans would object to a new professional league and put an end to NHL monopoly . Money seems to be destroying game .

  • Ducey

    GC,

    Perhaps you should do a drawing with “Naive” on one of the axis. You would be at the most naive end.

    Then you can invent a time machine and take all the NHL owners to the future.

    You see, you have a problem with time in your proposal. Boycotting the NHL after the lockout will have no impact on the lockout itself. (Thats because the lockout happens first)

    Typical Canucks fan. Always at least an hour late and 7% short. Maybe burn down Rogers Arena, that will show them.

    • Haters gon’ hate. Boycotting is boycotting either way. There’s no NHL hockey going on right now, so either you boycott no hockey now or no hockey later.

      Hockey is still generating revenue now, and it will post lockout as well. Via a plethora of outlets.

      ..wait GC is a ,nucks fan?? I take it all back, he’s a fool, let’s burn down Vancouver if there’s a lockout and blame it on them!

  • Captain Ron

    I figure the USA owners are screwed, but the cdn owners should be fine. If the NHL owners can attract rich Asia cash like C.Wang, then the players should get more. IDK what they like other than ping pong.
    Can’t find the 2nd (11-19 loss) Cooper fight on the tsn site; so many that day. IDK if it is there and have to watch an hr of other fights or if it isn’t there. I think the HW gold medal winner should’ve been the Italian by a pt. The UK boxer had more 3rd rd movement but not too many punches. The Italian sucked in a previous fight against a middle easterner who kept coming at side angles and wrapping, but boy that Italian didn’t even need to use his lower body to land hard shots.
    NBA needs instant replay challenge for offensive charging or travelling non-call. Then you can guard Lebron and force him to think his way through the D. a 4 pt line keeps the game alive longer and maybe no annoying FTs.
    Wow was Gretz good. Way better than Lemieux (5th); we’d of lost 1/2 those games if no Gretz. Missing players on many teams: not greatest team ever.
    Bombers didn’t look bad at 24-0. Went for a piece of Durant; wow he plays a reckless style. 42 pts is safe lead but at 28-0 you figure you slide into 3 defenders if no blockers. Bombers could touch Durant early, then went with two man QB spy and gave up a touchdown. Needed a deep safety; put some fear in receivers. Could use V.Young. Is exciting at least. Charles’s catch and block of one defender into another was amazing.
    I’d pay $30 for the Mooseheads-Que playoff series. C’mon, it would be a treat in time, I think. Should be making money off CHL if no NHL.

  • Wax Man Riley

    …with the NBA, it is too easy now just to drive the net. The play is always give it to an athletic power forward and go directly to the net.
    The Bomber RB danced around against 4 defenders instead of ploughing through for 4 yds (got two). The Bomber safety was horrifying as last line of defence, moving laterally while Dressler went right by him.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I am a season ticket holder and just made my 2nd installment. A strike seems certain. There is no comment from the flames organization about what they plan to do with my money. This time I want some back.

  • The police aren’t letting me research so I’m really hoping for at least 1/2 a season. Fuhr and the offensive defenseman are a weakness despite all the 80s players in their primes. Best passing team of all time for sure. I figure the 1996 USA team is better. With Brett Hull. Not an especially good team and a crappy Otto 4th line, but as good a D as any and Richter. I think the 2002 is best Canadian team ever. You got the crop of Jr gold medal winners and Brodeur. With Yzerman and Sakic still in prime, and Lemieux mad.
    I guess any 1980s Gretz team could contend. The Soviets could match up and got 3 games in there. 4 if you count the round robin one they broadcast on an impossible to watch Sunday.
    The best part of hockey is when you can change your lines while opponent hemmed in deep. The best part of CFL is when winning by one or tied, and no time left as opponent goes for game deciding punt/fg. And it falls short. Two weeks ago the TO Hamilton game almost had this but no coverage on right side; returner ran it out his left. When they have to kick it out and gets kicked in…the rules should be changed to maximize this or maybe overtime somehow. You could let the clock run right out for a game winning FG attempt if inside 1 or 2 or three minutes left. It is the best battle in sports except for maybe two good boxers like Lewis Tyson rd 1.

  • …alright I’m a sports glutten. How it would work is past the 4th quarter 3 min warning, the team that is tied or down by one and kicking a game-winning or tying FG/punt, has the option of letting the clock tick all the way down to nothing (commercials). If the FG is good or if the pt is good, the clock time is added back on for the defending team. If the kick is no good a scramble ensues…might want to tick it down to 15 seconds or something so it can’t be kicked out-of-bounds, IDK. Convoluted, but like nothing in any other league. I’d blow up the Bombers for draft picks. Lost the SK tiebreaker and not gonna catch Edm…

  • …who was better, Fuhr or Luongo? Fuhr was weak on stick side and Luongo had trouble with on ice wrap-arounds. 2014 team Canada is going to be a monster but I don’t see a goalie…
    Wow, a friggin monster.